I saw this on Facebook and had to share it. I don’t know where it came from originally but I shared it from Mark Heiss’ page.
So for this post the prompt is:
“We’ve now read four books in a rather quick span of time — two fictional, two non. So, I’d like you to consider the following: What “truths” (purposeful scare quotes) about autism do these books have to offer? What stereotypes do they uphold? In what ways do the authors make you think differently about autism?
For this post, you may pick one book to focus on in particular, or you may choose to do a compare and contrast. You might choose to examine specific scenes or characters here, or you might choose to reflect on an issue that got you thinking in some way. Are these books “must-reads”? Are these books just about autism? How should we apprehend their messages?”
So I’ve decided to talk about the book I had to do a presentation with along with Roni and Andie (links to their page), which was “Songs of a Gorilla Nation,” by Dawn Prince-Hughes. And I really wanted to share what Andie had to say because I have the same feelings about it.
“The four books we’ve read this term all deal with autism, but in remarkably different ways. I argue that Dawn Prince-Hughes’ memoir Songs of the Gorilla Nation is the best of the four representations of life with autism. Prince-Hughes is the only one of the four authors to be on the autism spectrum herself. Because she is writing about her own experiences, Prince-Hughes essentially avoids the mistake of using stereotypes, while the other three arguably rely on them at times.”
I agree completely. We talked about in class how it made a difference to how you felt about the book because someone on the spectrum wrote the book. Therefore, you could believe and connect better to what was being said because it was someone’s real experiences and not something made up. It seems that today fictional accounts on say a disorder doesn’t do so much for the author’s credibility because it’s true. When learning something new about autism twice a week for a semester, it’s natural for us to think about how complex the disorder is and fictional books didn’t really help make the stereotypes disappear instead it can do the opposite really and make you think of the stereotypes that the book may use. This is what made this book so much more appealing, interesting and really more truthful because it was written by someone who knew first hand how it is to have autism.
This post is very late… Sorry. Hopefully I did this right. It’s been awhile since I last used iMovie.
Here is the articles I mentioned in the video: Baron Cohen “The Essential Difference: the male and female brain,” and Sarah’s “Cat in a Dog’s World.” Also I am not personally affiliated with Autism Speaks.
Last poster I did is a little big so I will post it in a link…
Hope you like. This class was amazing and I learned so much!
“Emily Dickinson:”The poet Emily Dickinson was a recluse and puzzling writer, and Vernon Smith believes she may have been autistic, too.” Online Graduate Programs
I’m not sure if Dickinson had autism but I know one thing, her work was amazing and different and even though sometimes I don’t know her motivation or inspiration for some poems, her work is definitely one of a kind and somthing I enjoy reading.
*I first learned of this poem in my autism class then I looked it up and found it on this site. So I must give credit. Thank you.
For this blog we were asked (to make it simpler rather than me screwing up the paraphrasing):
For this blog post, we’d like you to write an introduction (approx. 150-250 words) to your own Autistic character. You can compose this introduction in whatever form seems most fitting — an intro paragraph, a short scene, or dialogue. Then, in the remainder of your blog post, please reflect on this process (approx. 100-200 words). What about this was challenging? Easy? What ethical principles guided your representation? If you had more time or space to develop your character, what would you do or say? How did our class readings (especially Curious Incident) influence your character?
Since I’m late posting this assignment, I wanted to post just a… I guess guidelines to writing about my character, who is actually a real human being. Here I asked his mother and brother to write about how they see DeAndre (who I mentioned in my first blog). I told them to write a brief biography and other things abut DeAndre. What they thought he would be like? What would be his likes and dislikes? And other questions like that.
So I only got a response from DeAndre’s mom (brother sucks, lol) and this is what she has to say:
DeAndre is a 5 year old little boy who was diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. More specicifically he has a Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. In short it is ASD – PDD/NOS.
DeAndre does not talk but he has ways of expressing his needs and wants. DeAndre is also a very happy little boy, he’s always showing his emotions whether happy or sad. He loves people and loves to smile and laugh. When he’s very happy he does what we call his “happy dance”, where he jumps up and down and move his feet, left and right. It makes you want to dance with him. He also loves to give hugs and kisses. He also has that other side where he expresses when he is upset or mad about something, he has temper tantrums.
Because DeAndre loves music I think he would probably study music in college. He loves the guaitar and loves to mimic playing it. He has toy guaitars all over the place and hopefully when he able to comprehend a little more we can get him started in early guaitar lessons. He also loves to mimic singing in a microphone. He will use anything that stands and closely resembles a microphone to do his performances.
At the rate he is going, with the love and support of family and friends as well as his teachers, doctors and therapist, I believe DeAndre will be able to overcome this disorder and live a fulfilling life. His future looks bright.
I’ve decided when I actually get time from my way too busy life to catch back up, I will definitely come back to this assignment and write a real narrative.
*I got this picture from LaBonita’s (DeAndre’s mother) Facebook page. Thank you for your help!!
I absolutely loved the article by DJ Savarese called “Cultural Commentary: Communicate With Me.” It really made me smile. I have to compare it to this guest class blogger that my professor introduced us to named Bard. He posted a blog titled “What it means to be an ‘NT Ally’”* and my whole class including me was taken aback by it. His blog was very blunt and it intimidated most of us because we felt like anything we would say in response to his blog post would offend him. We are going to be skyping with him next on the 13thand one of the concerns that one of my fellow class mates stated was that she was unsure of how to talk to him because she didn’t want to offend him. All of classmates have the same concern and really all we can do is remember that he knows that we are a class and the majority of us are fresh meat (new) to the world of autism. So we just have to say what we have to say knowing that we will make mistakes in the language that we use, because everyone is different and not all people like labels like HFA (high functioning autism) or LFA (low functioning autism).
Back to the point…
So DJ Savarese uses a softer approach to those who may not know how to interact with someone with autism that clearly has some trouble focusing, has some anxiety, etc. and in return he doesn’t come off as blunt and offensive. He gives easy and subtle advice because he knows that many people are confused and may or may not take the time out to become knowledgeable about autism and its culture. With Savarese, I can confidently go into the world of autism and learn about ally-hood and not be afraid to get things wrong. I don’t feel that way with Bard’s approach at all.
*Neurotypical (NT) = a person that identifies as being neurologically typical, or nondisabled.